The Summer of the Swans Social Sensitivity

Betsy Byars
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Byars's compassionate approach to mental disability in The Summer of the Swans results from her work with learning disabled children at West Virginia University in 1968. While there, she researched histories of children with brain damage caused by highfevered illnesses. This subject so fascinated her that she enrolled at West Virginia University to obtain her mas.

ter's degree in special education. At the time that Byars's novel was published, mental disabilities were a particularly sensitive subject that few books examined. Byars's treatment of the mentally handicapped is very touching, though not overly sentimental.

The novel emphasizes adolescents' great, though often untapped, capacity for maturity. Over the course of one summer, Sara convincingly grows from a self-absorbed, judgmental teen-ager to a capable, independent young adult.

Most parents and teachers will find her to be an appropriate role model for adolescents, and Sara's actions may inspire adolescents to have more confidence...

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This section contains 152 words
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